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Variety  /  Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography

February 22, 2017 - 7:30 pm
Bette Gordon.

Variety  (US/UK, 1983)

Desperate for work, Christine takes a job at an adult movie theater in Times Square, inaugurating a smoldering journey to the seedier edges of the city and the unexplored corners of her own psyche.  Saturated in glowing neon lights and infused with a sultry jazz score from frequent Jim Jarmusch collaborator John Lurie, a pre-Giuliani Big Apple provides Christine’s stumbling grounds as she explores the very male environs of taxi cabs, adult bookstores, and dawn fish markets that merely fan her flame of curiosity.  Director Gordon employed sex-positive feminist author Kathy Acker to pen this visually resonant comment on voyeurism, sexual currency, and female agency in Reagan’s conservative America.

35mm, color, 100 min.  Dir. Bette Gordon.  Production: Variety Motion Pictures; ZDF - Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen; Channel Four. Distribution: Kino Lorber. Producer: Renee Shafransky. Screenwriter: Kathy Acker. Cinematographer: Tom DiCillo; John Foster. Editor: Ila von Hasperg. Composer: John Lurie. With: Sandy McLeod, Luis Guzman, Will Patton, Nan Goldin, Richard Davidson.

Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography  (Canada, 1982)

Canadian documentarian Bonnie Sherr Klein brings a sharp, insightful, multivalent feminist critique to bear in this ground-up examination of the sex and porn industries circa the late 1970s, just prior to home video’s indelible impression on our interaction with visual media.  Exotic dancer Linda Lee Tracey is our onscreen guide as we move from peep shows to magazine publishing houses and parlors of noted feminist authors to uncover the “heavy power” at play in the politics and social conditioning of manufactured sexuality in the West.  Banned in Ontario upon its initial release, Klein’s film is far from the aggressive indictment of pornography of which it stood accused, and should be considered essential viewing in this post-Third Wave feminist world.

16mm, color, 68 min.  Dir. Bonnie Sherr Klein.  Production: National Film Board of Canada; Studio D.  Distribution: NFB.  Producer: Dorothy Todd Hénaut.  Screenwriter: B. Klein.   Cinematographer: Pierre Letarte.  Editor: Anne Henderson.  Composer: Ginette Bellavance.  With: Bonnie Sherr Klein, Linda Lee Tracey, Marc Stevens, Kate Millett, Margaret Attwood.